On our way to checking out Holland’s FFWD wheels design and production facilities (look for a story on BikeRadar very soon), we got the chance to stop off at the Dutch BikeMotion show – so we thought we’d give you a gallery of some of the best bikes and bits from one of the biggest Benelux bike shows.
Salsa may have taken a bit of a low profile of late (at least in the UK), but the new generation of ‘hardtail drop bar bikes’ takes things a little further than its pioneering gravel machines like the Warbird. The carbon Cutthroat is designed to be the ideal companion for long-distance bikepacking racing. The race-inspired geometry features super long 445mm chainstays to get you up and over technical singletrack trails, yet still give plenty of stability and comfort for big endurance rides.
The Cutthroat features vast clearances at the rear
The bike features huge clearances and will accommodate up to 29 x 2.4in rubber (plus plenty of mud). It’s suspension-adjusted for a 100mm travel fork, though comes equipped with a full-carbon unit. At the rear there’s provision for 74mm post-mount brakes for rotors of either 140 or 160mm and a 142 x 12mm thru-axle.
The frame comes with three bottle mounts on medium through XL frames (with two on the small) plus accessory mounts on the top tube and the underside of the down tube. There are two Cutthroat models, the Rival 1 model (pictured) at $3999 and an X9 version for $1000 less (all international pricing is TBC unless otherwise stated).
If carbon’s not your thing and you want a little more rubber underneath you then perhaps the new Steel Deadwood is more up your (lumpy) street.
The Deadwood is Salsa's first foray into a whole new world of 29+ drop-bar off roading
The Deadwood is based around 29+ tyres so it’s ready for 3in wide rubber. The frame follows the design cues of the legendary Fargo, so its got provision for all the cargo mounts you could think of. Again Salsa class the Deadwood as a drop bar mountain bike, reiterating its belief that these new models can go somewhat further afield than your everyday gravel grinder. The X9-equipped Deadwood is priced at $2599.
Olympia and Scapin
Olympia is one of Italy’s oldest marques (it’s celebrating its 120th year) and its high-end sister brand Scapin has plenty of evolution in its range for 2016.
The Olympia 849 is the lightest production carbon frame from the Olympia stable, and as the name hints it’s an 849g mainframe mated to a similarly svelte fork. Despite the low weight Olympia has managed to pack in plenty of styling cues that set this apart from your average race bike.
Olympia's 849, as the name suggests, is based around a 849 gram carbon frame
Up front the heavily sculpted head tube flows into a tapering top tube while the oversized down tube meets a similarly substantial bottom bracket shell and chainstays. The top tube uses continuous fibres that flow into the super skinny stays, and it’s all wrapped up in some seriously aggressive geometry and a short wheelbase to keep these nimble in the handling stakes. The 849 is available in eight versions, from the base-model SRAM Force at €2899 to the flagship Dura Ace Di2 model at €6499.
The 849's minimal stays use continous fibres flowing from the top tube junction and run parallel into a skinny brake bridge
Scapin’s Anouk is the most modest bike in the range, but it’s one of our favourites. The blend of gloss and matt finish with Scapin’s signature masked and painted graphics look suitably classy. We also like the slender understated shape, which still hides some seriously angular design and complex tube profiles throughout.
The Scapin's Anouk's understated finish masks plenty of complex design work in the tube profiles
Olympia’s foray into disc road bikes, the Leader, takes its design cues from the brand’s aggressive aero road bike the Boost, so it blends disc brake compatibility with an integrated aero fork, sculpted head tube and a deep aero-shaped seat tube complete with a rear wheel cutaway. We think the Leader looks fantastic; hopefully the ride lives up to the stunning looks.
The Leader's top tube is a complex pattern of flattened shapes
This tester ran an Olympia Boost for a couple of seasons a few years back, and was impressed by its handling and the way it looked (okay, I did spec it in full tricolore Italian livery). For 2016 Olympia has the Ikon sitting alongside the Boost – it shares the same windcheating design, but loses some mass and has been reimagined with a set of smaller tube profiles for sharp looks, with the aim of retaining the same razor-sharp speedy handling.
For the off-road side Olympia now offers its full-sus marathon machine, the Bullet in both 29er and 650b formats. The Bullet is designed for light weight, and offers 100mm of travel both front and rear. With a 70.5-degree head angle and a 73-degree seat (with a little difference between sizes), the effective top tube length of 662mm on a 1109mm wheelbase further reinforces the Bullet’s racing credentials.
Italian wheel brand Alchemist does things a little differently. Its rim technology is based around proprietary high-pressure mouldings that combine an impact-resistant resin, holding together an 18k carbon structure. This is all encased within a plastic polymer coating that helps to reduce stress absorption.
Alchemist's own hubs combine CNCed alloy with carbon centres
The rim design itself is asymmetric, both front and rear, with the drillings offset by 3mm and inclined by plus or minus 5 degrees, which, Alchemist claims, increases lateral stiffness. Alchemist’s own design hubs feature a carbon central body with ERGAL-75 flanges CNCed from a single piece; internally the bearings are double shielded and built into wheels using Sapim’s range topping CX-Ray spokes.
Alchemist offers wheels for cross-country, marathon, enduro, cyclocross, and road race disciplines, as well as plus sizes and even a fat bike. Its 29in race wheels, the XC-1, feature 18.5/24mm wide rims and weigh in at 1395g a pair for the tubulars, 1485g for clinchers and is priced at €1850. The Pro versionis 1280g (tubular) 1330g (clincher) and €2100 a pair. 650b models are priced the same and tip the scales at 1370g(T)1440g(C) XC-1. 1240g (T) 1310g(C) Pro.
The Alchemsist rims feature radically offset and angled spoking
The Marathon wheels are widened to 26mm and whilst manufactured in the same way as the XC’s the rim shape is radically different, the girder like profile they call ‘Ridge Reinforcement’ (RR). Despite the industrial looks the XC-marathon wheelsets actually come up pretty light, with the 29er tipping the scales at 1290g and the 650b 1260g (both in clincher) and priced at €2300. The fat and plus specification wheels are priced at €2400 and €2300 respectively but no information on the weights and specs was available.
Based in Verona, Chesini is a brand with a long history (since 1925, if you’re asking) but you’d be forgiven for not having heard of it. It seems Italy still has plenty of undiscovered gems in frame building – plenty have never seen much need to export out of the country, thanks to the strong domestic market. Chesini’s modest beginnings combined a workshop with a Singer sewing machine service centre, before becoming gradually involved with bike design and building.
Chesini’s Steel Ahead range combines classic looks with stunning craftsmanship – more than enough to set them apart from the crowd.
Perhaps the firm’s ultimate steel road machine is the XCr925; it’s built using Columbus XCr tubing, a lightweight stainless steel that combines better strength to weight ratios than titanium and alloy and offers corrosion resistance better than pretty much any other steel. For the 925, Chesini uses custom triple-butted tubes to create a medium (56cm) frame weight of 1420g.
The Chesini XCr925 is as good looking a stainess steel road machine as we've seen
The detailing on the frame is stunning, with Chesini’s signature RVS dropouts a particular highlight. The frame is priced at €2430 with custom options available.
The combination of beautiful welds and brilliant paintwork set the 925 apart from the crowd
The complete bike pictured, kitted out with Dura-Ace and a smattering of lightweight Deda components and the Columbus full-carbon grammy fork, tipped the scales at 6.96kg.
The Gran Premio is Chesini’s take on a fast, aero-style bike – yet configured using steel, in this case Columbus Spirit HSS. The oversized and externally triple-butted tubing is designed to offer stiffness when riding on the limit and the similarly aggressive geometry sets this out as a bike to be ridden hard.
The Chesini Gran Premio is the Italian framebuilder's take on a fast-aero style bike, but rendered in steel
Pricing starts at €2900, rising to €5600 for complete bikes with a frame weight of 1680g (medium) and the complete bike pictured weighing in at 7.14kg.
The X-Uno is a super-limited edition celebrating the companies 90th year. The frame is built around a Columbus Spirit tube set with custom hand cut chromed lugs. The frame is further embellished with Stainless steel hand cut applied logos, and engraved brass inserts and badges.
The X-Uno's textured brown finish is up there with the best
The frame's textured deep brown finish is reminiscent of an aged and rusted frame and the way it sets off the mirrored polished detailing is simply stunning – this is one of those bikes that’s as much art as it is machine. The extraordinary work on a frameset, which isn’t overly heavy at 1780g, is impressive, and even with a POA price tag we’d still be interested.
If you’re more in the market for an upscale urban cruiser then Chesini’s stunning classic styled but thoroughly modern Vispula is something worth checking.
The Vispula mixes classic looks with a Gates belt drive and disc brakes
The Columbus Cromor frame and fork is finished with the same refinement as the rest of the range. Despite its handsome vintage looks the Vispula is driven by a Gates belt and five-speed Sturmey Archer hub gear, so you won’t get oil on your handmade Italian loafers when cruising the streets of Verona for an espresso stop (or insert your own cliché).
The custom hip flask and hip flask cage on the Vispula urban machine are beautifully realised if ultra posey features
We love the integrated chainguard with hand engraved Chesini logos and the custom bottle cage and hammer-finished hipflask is a work of art (and available as an optional extra) and the woven leather finish of the Chesini saddle and grips is impressively 'artisan' too. The Vispula is priced between €1550 and €1750 euros (+VAT).
As we walked the halls of BikeMotion we ran into the guys behind HideMyBell, formerly a Kickstarter project that combines an out-front style mount for a Garmin Edge computer yet integrates an 85dB bell into the base of the mount. The polymer mount is held in place a single bolt, and at 46g you're not paying much of a penalty for a bit of extra safety. The mount is available online from hidemybell.cc priced at €29.95 including worldwide shipping.
The HIdeMyBell mount combines compatibilty with all Garmin Edges and Wahoo's Rflkt with an integrated bell on the underside